UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's remarks and answers to media questions following his visit to the Republic of Kenya, Nairobi, May 29, 2023

29 May 2023 16:31

Ladies and gentlemen,

We held meetings in Kenya's capital Nairobi with President William Ruto, National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetangula and Foreign Minister Alfred Mutua. The talks took place in a friendly atmosphere and allowed us to conduct a sincere, trust-based exchange of views on all key international issues and map out ways of further developing bilateral cooperation. Admittedly, we have not realised our trade, economic and investment potential. Today, we talked about promising areas like geological prospecting and mineral production, energy, telecommunications, the agro-industrial sector, tourism, science and education. We agreed to actively help our business people establish direct contacts. These processes will be facilitated by the formation of the Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation. We agreed to finalise and sign the relevant agreement before the end of 2023.

We compared notes on regional and international conflicts. We noted Kenya's active and creative role in a number of persisting conflicts in Africa - the Horn of Africa, Sudan, the Republic of South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Somalia. The Kenyans continue sending thousands of peacekeepers as part of the African Union's peacekeeping operations in the relevant regions.

We discussed the development of ties between Russia and the African Union. The Second Russia-Africa Summit will play a special role in this respect. It will take place in St. Petersburg in late July. Our Kenyan friends and we seriously hope the decisions that are being drafted will help promote practical cooperation and development of our interaction in the international arena.

Africa has announced, with good reason, its intention to become a full-fledged centre in the multipolar world arrangement that is now taking shape. A reform of the UN Security Council should be a step in this direction. Its problem lies in the excessive representation of Western states. Out of its 15 current members, six represent the US and its allies. It is necessary to remove this injustice by accepting Asian, Latin American and African representatives in the UN Security Council. This is the only way of ensuring proper representation in this main UN body.

We exchanged views on the situation in Europe. President of Kenya William Ruto views the developments around Ukraine in this context. We described in detail our assessment of the situation that took shape due to the West's perennial line towards creating direct threats to Russia's security, encouraging the Kiev regime to destroy all things Russian and our entire common history, and the discrimination against Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine, who associate themselves with the traditional Orthodox Church, the Russian language, culture and education. It seems to me that our partners understand us. They expressed their gratitude to us for a detailed discussion of these issues.

We also reviewed the need to reform the world economy, global finances, the IMF, the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation. We have identical opinions on these issues. All countries are interested in protecting themselves from the negative impact of the mechanisms created by the West for advancing its globalisation model and from its attempts to abuse the role of the dollar in international transactions. They want to make a transition to national currencies and develop logistics chains that will not be affected by blackmail and pressure. Our positions of principle fully coincide in this respect. It will take time to reach these goals. This is hard work but we are motivated to achieve results. I am content with the results of my visit.

Question: Kenya recently said it planned to pay for oil imports in national currency. Is Russia interested in that, since we export oil to that country? Can this practice be extended to cover other types of goods? How important is this step as part of overall Russia-Africa relations?

Sergey Lavrov: This is an objective process which will pick up pace. We believe this will have a healing effect on the global economy and international, trade, economic and investment ties.

With regard to Kenya, our trade, unfortunately, is not that large at under $400 million (out of habit, we continue to express this in US dollars). As trade grows, the transition to payments in national currencies will take on a practical meaning. It is the future.

This goes beyond Africa to include transactions in national currencies with Latin America and our partners in Asia, Iran, India, and China. The percentage of transactions with the US dollar is declining.

Speaking of Latin America and the upcoming BRICS summit, President of Brazil Lula da Silva put forward an idea to prioritise the development of payment mechanisms that do not depend on the US dollar or the euro. They will rely on the decisions and agreements developed within the BRICS New Development Bank, among others. This process will pick up steam.

Question: Denmark and the Netherlands will lead the coalition in terms of training Ukrainian pilots to fly the F-16. What stands behind the motives of these countries and how will Moscow respond to the possible use of US jets in Ukraine?

Sergey Lavrov: Perhaps, Denmark and the Netherlands' plan to be at the forefront of the countries that train Ukrainian pilots to fly Western aircraft speaks to their desire to please the hegemon. These countries are acting in line with Washington's policy in European affairs. As for our response, I have no doubt that our armed forces have the ability to respond to this.

Question: Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo said the African countries' peace initiative regarding a Ukraine settlement was received in London and Washington with skepticism. You said earlier how Moscow evaluates this initiative. What's your take on the West's attempts to prevent it from being acted on?

Sergey Lavrov: As they have publicly stated several times - it's not a secret -Washington and London cannot accept anything other than "Zelensky's peace formula." They are using every avenue to implement it in every possible way in all G7, NATO and EU documents and they demand that everyone stick to it.

As a reminder, this formula means, according to them, the withdrawal of Russian troops from Crimea, Donbass and other new territories, including the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions. After that, they plan to hold a tribunal against Russia and Russian leadership followed by the payment of reparations. And only after that will Ukraine "graciously" agree to sign some kind of a peace treaty.

Back in 2021, Zelensky stated that if any citizen of Ukraine feels Russian deep inside, then for the sake of their children and grandchildren, they should leave for Russia. Messrs Alexey Danilov and Mikhail Podolyak said that after they take back Crimea and eastern Ukraine, they would exterminate everything that is Russian there, including the physical annihilation of Russian citizens. This position of the West and its commitment to the exclusively barbaric and inhuman "Zelensky formula" means that they are ready to support this genocide. There is nothing to add to this.

Question: Food security is of paramount importance for Africa. The African countries are receiving grain under the Black Sea Initiative with great difficulty. Russian fertilisers are unable to find their way here, either. Very few countries have received them which, one might even say, makes them an exception to the rule. Does it make sense to continue the Black Sea deal and the Russia-UN memorandum? Since the deal was renewed for another 60 days for a second time, we have arrived at the 120 days that were discussed originally. Does it make sense for us to renew it again, or is there a chance that Western countries will "mend their ways?"

Sergey Lavrov: I have commented more than once on the Black Sea Initiative concerning the export of food, grain and other goods from Ukrainian ports. Of 30 million tonnes exported, less than 3 percent made it to the poorest countries. Five African countries in the World Food Programme list are in need of food.

The Russia-UN Memorandum is not being acted on at all. We can export our agricultural products in circumvention of the mechanisms provided by this memorandum. Without a doubt, if UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres were to succeed in fulfilling everything that the document calls for, the food and fertiliser market would have been impacted in a much more positive manner.

Everyone is aware of the fertiliser story. In 2022, the EU seized about 300,000 tonnes of Russian fertiliser in its ports that was very much needed for agricultural production. Recently, an African leader said that without removing barriers to Russian fertiliser exports next year, Africa would face a famine. President Putin said we were ready to make these 300,000 tonnes of fertiliser, illegally seized by the European Union back in September 2022 (with the consent of the owner's company), available to the countries in need, primarily in Africa, for free. It took almost six months before the first minor shipment was sent to Malawi. Additional shipments will come to Africa soon as well.

With regard to Kenya, 30,000 tonnes of fertiliser will be arriving at the port of Mombasa any day now, which, once processed, will be of great use for the agricultural purposes of this African country. Several more countries will receive our fertiliser from among the seized amounts under the same arrangements. However, the process is very slow. We can regard the EU's actions and its respective members as an outright act of sabotage of food security goals.

Regarding the future of the Black Sea Initiative, we provided our comments earlier. If everything remains as is, which is the most likely scenario, we will need to start acting on the premise that it is no longer operational.

Question: Serbia does not rule out that tensions in Kosovo could escalate into an armed conflict. Can you comment on this, and is Moscow taking steps to prevent it?

Sergey Lavrov: We have already commented on this situation. We consider it unacceptable. It is challenging the principles that the West itself was promoting in European affairs.

Kosovo received independence by declaring it unilaterally and illegally. The West said in this situation that this was the right of nations to self-determination. There was no referendum. Meanwhile, the West did not recognise the Crimean referendum. In this case, they said territorial integrity and sovereignty overrode the right to self-determination.

I have said more than once that the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution long ago, according to which it is necessary to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of those states whose governments respect the right of nations to self-determination and represent all people living on the territory in question. There is no point in trying to prove that the Kiev regime has long stopped representing either Crimeans or the residents of eastern Ukraine.

In case of Kosovo, the West sided with those who could be called separatists, to use the Western terms describing events in Ukraine after the coup d'état. This is a shocking fact - the NATO-formed forces for Kosovo calmly observed how Albanian representatives seized municipalities after completely ridiculous elections in which 3 percent of northern Kosovo (Serbian areas) took part. When Serbs came to protest, NATO forces started defending those who illegally captured district and regional government bodies.

You know what decisions President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic made. The army has been placed on alert and is deployed on the border. The President of Serbia, the Serbian people and the Serbs upholding their rights in the north of the Autonomous Province of Kosovo will decide what to do.

Let me remind you that more than ten years ago, the EU formulated a charter for the community of Kosovo's northern municipalities as part of its mediation between Pristina and Belgrade. This document granted Serbs the right to their native tongue, as well as local government and local law-enforcement bodies. The Kosovo Albanians agreed to this. Yet, nothing has been done in the past ten years. Nothing is being carried out. This is similar to the Minsk agreements - nobody plans to do anything.

A big explosion is in the making in the centre of Europe, in the same place NATO conducted its aggression against Yugoslavia in violation of all thinkable principles of the Helsinki Final Act and other OSCE documents. The situation is alarming.

The West has adopted a course towards total subjugation of those who dare express their opinion even in some way. This shows again that current world developments are of a global character, and it is necessary to make geopolitical decisions that ensure (regarding Europe) equal, indivisible security for all states. This should mean that no bloc, including NATO, has the right to claim domination in this part of the world.

Documents to this effect were signed in the OSCE framework by the presidents and prime ministers of the NATO countries, including the US and Great Britain, at the 1999 and 2000 summits. The West trampled these political commitments underfoot. When Western leaders were reminded of this, they feigned the impression that nothing terrible was taking place. This is a very dangerous policy leading to yet another serious crisis.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list